THE BLACK CLIFFS by Gunnar Gunnarsson


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This novel, written in 1928, based on a true crime which took place in 1802 in Iceland, deals with two couples who lived on an isolated farm. One of the husbands disappears, and when the wife of the other dies, the survivors are arrested and tried for murder. It is an oddly powerful book, since Gunnarsson infuses the stark circumstances of the crime with the sense of harsh existence there and man's trials before God as well as other men. The narrator is a young and inexperienced curate, who is forced to confront the rumors and then the actuality of the two murders. The story is deepened as seen through the curate's fear and compassion, and the untenable Situation at the farm is revealed only slowly through the slight testimony of the trial witnesses. And spiritual overtones strengthen the story, so that one remembers not only the uncertainties of those involved but the way in which their actions and emotions create almost elemental conflicts.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 1967
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin Press